Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 2 April 23, 1942
Sir,—The, first issue of "Salient" offered remarkably little scope: there was the absence of many and consequent apathy of the remaining few; the articles printed were as many indications of that.
Your editorial—"Students, put into practice the concepts of freedom and right acquired at university"—and "Help in the E.P.S." Why not join the E.P.S. straight away? "The chief end of Univerity education is to come closer into contact with the common people." And of factory education: No, Mr. Editor, "it was a doubtful essay in hypothesis." The value of a university does not lie in that. "What I object to"—had a very good main point. It opened our eyes to the pathological imagination of many of us: that they are in a group, in an army—in this case of University Reds fighting the Tories and fighting the Fascists—a new community with a new singular way of life (no secrets on sex ?!) and blowing an exulting bugle in this militant manifesto. Are there fifty, are there less, are there five in Gemorrah? That was the significance of the letter and the reply was more an evasion than an answer. Marginalia—it would have been pittoresque to leave that other quotation In the original Dutch, would It not? I don't think it had done much harm to our comprehension. The article does not seem to bring us much nearer to the common people, almost as little, I dare say, as ... to Housman. As for the eyes whose brilliance is lost to us poor dwellers in the "Unreal City"—my friend who used to go to all social functions in San Francisco tells me it is absolutely untrue. He must be right.page 2
Literary Editorial—hero we learn that Rilke's Duino Elegies belong to "the deeper issues which lend this war significance." A translation will fortunately be on sale in Modern Books within a few weeks so that "Salient" has narrowly escaped the immaterial embraces and distant lourings of these Sibyllian angels. We need original verse, we read; we get:
Eumenides—a laudable effort indeed showing an Icaros bred in revenge. Its deficiency was the misrepresentation of the proud and essentially invincible Eumenides as having "loping legs and indeterminate head" and hiding "inside the wardrobe all night long"—like any inhibited complexity from Auden's inferior ballads. Rilke is there all right and so is Auden-Freud only "the onward march of the common people, etc.," and the "closer contact" with the same we seek in vain. The College Red community, on second thoughts, looks rather imaginary, with views rarely natural to its members.
The author of Our Christians quotes Marvell out of place and misquotes Shelley. He seems to be unaware that whoever has written "War and Sex" would like to be considered a sane person and consequently gives reasons for his statements when speaking to University students instead of preaching damnation. The rest were quotations and [unclear: trivialities].